Designing a Single Room: George Karani, an interior designer with Invision Concepts Ltd in Nairobi, offers tips on how you can live comfortably in a single room.
Avoid clutter and unnecessary furniture
“Avoid clutter and consider the size of the room when buying furniture,” says Mr Karani, adding that the furniture should be custom-made to fit in the room, and must be functional.
“Do you really need a sofa-set and a table in the house? Why not just have a mat you can roll out and up as need be? It will create space and also serve as a floor covering you can sit on while watching TV or relaxing,” he says.
Noting that bulky furniture takes up a lot of space,” Mr Karani adds that if your single room serves as a work space, living room and bedroom, you should go for folding furniture. A folding desk, for instance, can serve as a bedside table by night and desk by day.
Designing a Single Room: Store stuff under the bed
“Use the space under the bed as much as possible,” says Mr Karani, adding that it is the ideal place to store the clothes you rarely use, magazines, and small trinkets that don’t have a permanent home. He advises that you go for beds with drawers if possible. But if not, you can get containers that are affordable and an effective option.
“Also, consider having a retractable bed which you can pull out at night and place a mattress on to create extra sleeping spare. During the day, it can be pushed in to make a drawer which can hold some items in the house,” says Mr Karani.
Use every nook and cranny
“Don’t let an awkwardly-shaped room cramp your storage,” says Mr Karani. He notes that shelves come in many shapes and sizes these days, so you should maximise your space by installing shelves in odd places like room corners. To add an elegant touch, place a lampshade on the shelf or potted flowers paired with colourful LED light to dimly light the shelves and enhance beauty.
Watch what you have on walls
“Do not hang clothes on the walls. Instead have pictures or paintings neatly done on the walls to make the room more appealing to you and your visitors,” advises the interior designer. “Fix mirrors for personal use behind the door. Also, go for mirrors that hang on the walls instead of large ones that sit on the floor,” he adds.
Manage the entertainment space
“With a retractable bed or under-the-bed storage having saved valuable space in the room, you can set up an entertainment space in one of the corners. If one can afford a flat-screen TV, so much the better,” says Mr Karani, adding, “If you have your television, stereo, computer or gaming system take up space the room, consider fixing them on the walls.”
For instance a flat screen television mounted on the wall will instantly add space.
If the single room is made up of corrugated iron sheets, Mr Karani advises that you use wooden blockboards to strengthen the walls before fitting the TV.
Buy multi-functional furniture
“A bed that has drawers underneath and a bookshelf at the headboard has already combined three pieces of furniture in one. Go for such multi-functional piece of furniture such as a foldable bed that can serve as a seat during the day or one that has a headrest that can be folded to make a study table,” suggest Mr Karani.
Make it bright
“Dark colours make small rooms look even smaller,” says Mr Karani, so go for bright colours.
“If the room is painted white, have accents such as red pillows, colourful blinds or even a wall painting that adds colour,” he says.
Don’t demarcate the room
“Don’t demarcate the room with curtains to create private space. Ensure that the space is open and the bed neatly made so that visitors can sit on it,” says Mr Karani, adding that demarcation forces you to look for extra pieces of furniture for people to sit on.
“Avoid that!” he says.
Designing a Single Room: The cooking area
Mr Karani says it is advisable to have the cooking area close to the window and far from the bed. “This ensures maximum ventilation and averts accidents,” he says.